Here’s some interesting bits of information taken from pet food websites and press releases. What do you think? Do you buy what they are selling?
From the Purina.com website we find the following…
“Did you know that pet food formulation is subjected to stricter standards than most human food? That’s because pet food makes up the entirety of a pet’s diet, so it has to deliver all of the nutrients they need.”
“Pet food companies can volunteer to follow the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) guidelines, which encourage pet food companies to conduct feeding trials to make sure that their foods result in positive outcomes for real pets.”
Do you buy it?
It’s always interesting when a pet food manufacturer or regulatory authority makes the statement pet food is subjected to stricter standards than human food. The truth is pet foods are allowed to violate federal food safety law (by FDA), human foods are not.
And, pet food companies don’t “volunteer” to follow AAFCO guidelines and AAFCO doesn’t “encourage pet food companies to conduct feeding trials”. The truth is pet food companies either follow AAFCO guidelines or they don’t include the ‘balanced and complete’ statement on their labels. It’s really that simple. And, if a company wants the ‘balanced and complete’ statement, they must either follow AAFCO nutrient guidelines or perform a feeding trial…there is no ‘encouragement’ either way from AAFCO.
Also from Purina.com we find this: “A belief is spreading that corn-free diets are beneficial for dogs. Our team of researchers, including nutrition experts and veterinarians, can’t find any evidence that this is true. In fact, they believe that just the opposite is true.”
Do you buy it?
Dr. Michael Fox called this one well in advance. Right after the ‘research’ Purina backed their grain is good belief on was published, Dr. Fox knew what was about to happen. He knew pet food manufacturers that utilize grains will jump on the band wagon. On a post that was shared on TruthaboutPetFood.com Dr. Fox stated “While some dog food companies may be quick to jump on this research as scientific evidence supporting their continued and widely questioned practice of manufacturing high grain/starch diets, they do need to pause and consider what these findings really mean.
“They do not mean that it is OK to make starches a major dietary ingredient for dogs. But they do mean that many dog breeds are more omnivorous than wolves and can digest some starches as a consequence of co-evolved selection living in close association with humans for many generations. Humans also went through similar genetic-dietary changes with the shift from being gatherer-hunters (the Paleolithic diet) to grain-eating (and dairy consuming) agro-pastoralists. But just like with we humans, dogs show nutrigenomic differences, some developing exocrine pancreatic insufficiency when after being raised on a high grain diet, or diabetes, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, skin disorders and even epilepsy. When these symptoms disappear when they are taken off high grain/starch diets, we have medical based evidence of the probable cause.The recent inclusion of genetically engineeered food ingredients in dog (and cat) foods, such as corn, rice, canola and sugarbeet, may aggravate these conditions and cause other health problems as documented in “Not Fit for a Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Cat & Dog Foods” by veterinarians Fox, Hodgkins & Smart.”
The Science Diet website – in reference to their ‘Ideal Balance’ pet food states “The right natural ingredients guaranteed to be perfectly balanced.”
What do you think?
“Perfectly balanced” is an interesting statement. ‘Perfect’ is defined as “having all the required or desirable elements”. ‘Balanced’ is defined as “arranged in good proportions”. I interpret this statement by Science Diet that their foods Ideal Balance is something unique – different from other pet foods. However…all pet foods that include the statement ‘Complete and Balanced’ meet the same nutritional requirements of the AAFCO nutrient profile or they have met the same requirements of an AAFCO feeding trial.
And as for ‘perfect’ – many of those AAFCO nutrient profiles have a minimum level established but no maximum. Such as protein and fat. One food might be 18% protein, another might be 30%. Who decided what the ‘perfect’ amount of protein is for each pet? (Answer: no one.) And further, there’s nothing exact with nutrition. The nutrients in beef or chicken depend on what each animal ate, and where that food was grown, weather conditions, condition of the soil, time of the season it was picked, freshness, and on and on. Thus that ‘perfect balance’ of nutrition would be extremely difficult to achieve batch after batch of pet food.
From a Natura Pet Food press release “Natura Pet Products and its flagship brand Innova® have announced a new line of Farmhouse Stews for pet parents who want to enhance their dogs’ meals with an alternative to dry food, with high-quality ingredients that are easily recognizable and appealing.”
What are your thoughts with this statement? Maybe first you should look at the ingredient of one of the Farmhouse Stews…
Beef Broth, Beef, Water, Dried Eggs, Bison, Barley, Bell Peppers, Pea Protein, Tapioca Starch, Tricalcium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Guar Gum, Chelated Minerals, Essential Vitamins, Choline Chloride, Magnesium Oxide, Dried Celery, Thiamine Mononitrate.
Is if fair to say that this Innova pet food includes ingredients “that are easily recognizable and appealing”?
Please pay close attention to what pet food tells you. It might not be quite true. If you have any doubts, ask them for clarification. (By the way, how they respond is often quite interesting.)
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
Association for Truth in Pet Food
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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